A Database With Data of “Millions” of Telegram Users Has Been Published on the Darknet

A database of “millions” of Telegram users has been published on one of the darknet forums. It contains data in the form of a “nickname-phone number” bundle, as well as a unique user identifier in the messenger. 

The Durov Code reporting publication, conducted an audit and found the phone numbers of the editorial staff using the indicated nicknames. 

The file is approximately 900 MB, and the exact number of users whose data is contained in the database is unknown. 

The Telegram’s press service confirmed the existence of the database to the Durov Code and added that Russian users own 30% of these accounts, and the rest of the users are from Iran.

Telegram has explained:

Such databases usually contain the correspondence“ phone number – user identifier in Telegram ”. They are collected through abuse of the built-in contact import feature during user registration.

Unfortunately, not a single service that allows users to communicate with contacts from their phone book can completely exclude such exhaustion.

The messenger’s press service also reported that most of the merged accounts are no longer relevant, and the measures taken back in 2019 help to prevent your number being visible:

At the same time, an analysis of the data in these databases shows that additional measures taken by us at the end of the summer of 2019 in response to reports about the enumeration of Hong Kong user numbers were effective. More than 84% of the data was collected before the middle of 2019. Most of the accounts in this database – at least 60% – contain already irrelevant data. This may indicate that last year we were able to significantly reduce the scale and speed of this type of abuse.

In addition, after messages from Hong Kong, we added the setting “Who can add me to contacts by phone number.” This setting, although it seriously complicates the use of Telegram for ordinary users (they become “invisible” even for those who know their number), allows dissidents and protest activists to completely hide the connection between their account and phone number. “

From June 18, the Telegram messenger is officially unblocked in Russia. According to the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation,  this decision was guided mainly by the inability to completely block access to the messenger service.

Dan Taylor
Dan Taylor is an experienced SEO consultant and has worked with brands and companies on optimizing for Russia (and Yandex) for a number of years. Winner of the inaugural 2018 TechSEO Boost competition, webmaster at HreflangChecker.com and Sloth.Cloud, and founder of RussianSearchNews.com.